Tuesday, 29 October 2013

GiGi and the Cat- Don Churchillion and the Litany Bird

Dearest Em,

Well the week begins with a great big storm! You bumped your head, and we are still awaiting the arrival of your new baby sister. So let's divert ourselves and get another chapter drafted- over to you Em for your perusal...

BY THIS TIME, GiGi had given up being surprised at anything that happened here-abouts, as she walked away from the shop and her older self and Emily who continued their chattering and laughing.
She walked down a hill in what she considered a likely direction back towards the house and the Bored Meeting. Suddenly the Champagne bottle came rolling down the hill, knocking her off her feet and shouting 'whooahhh!' as it headed towards a tree. There it stopped, and was promptly joined by a Magpie, who pecked away at the top until it had managed to get the bottle upright. GiGi now saw that the bottle was a sort of man- well, it had a man's head anyhow. The bottle-man was laughing and looked straight through her.

GiGi stood up, dusted herself off, and thought she might just be ready for an apology. She waited, arms crossed.

"It's very provoking" the Bottle Man said, after a long silence, looking away from GiGi as he spoke "to be stared at, with crossed arms as well, very!"

"I", began GiGi... "Well; I just thought you might perhaps be about to apologise for knocking me over!"

"Some people", said the Bottle Man- looking at a tree "expect all the wrong things. No common-sense- none whatsoever!" GiGi didn't quite know what to make of this last sentence, or how to speak further with this 'person' whose glance suggested he was addressing a tree rather than her. However, he, and the Magpie, were rather crossing her path, and she deliberated going around them perhaps, whilst standing a while in thought.

Whilst doing so, the words of the poem she had first started reading at the house, came back to her and she pieced them together and spoke them out loud;

Twasn't brillig, as the Slithey Toves,
All growled and gambled, and were grave.
All whimsy were her Borogoves,
And the Home-Rath's dismayed.

"Beware the 'Ware-of-All" my Girl!
The mouth that snipes, the claws that snatch,
Beware the Monstrous Crow, and Shun,
The frumious Can-all-Snatch!"

She took her Besum Broom in hand,
Long time the vexome for she sought-
So rested she, by the Purgatree,
And stood a while in thought

And as in faffing thought, she stood,
The ware-of-all, with eyes aflame,
Came baffling through the tulgy-wood,
And murmured as it came!

One-two! One two! And through 
The besum-broom went snicker-snack!

Just then, the man looked her straight in the eyes, and said:-

"Oh, that's not the end of that poem you know, there are a clear two and a half more verses, and- don't just stand there chattering away to yourself, pray tell us your name and state your Business here!"

" My name is GiGi, and I have no Business here that I know of, at least, I don't think so".

"You don't think!" said the man. "Well, that's rather stupid! One ought to think, at the very least. What is more- of course- you have Business here, else you wouldn't be here! Why, I am Don Churchillion, and I know my Business, and so, my girl- should you!".

Just then, the bird decided to stop pecking at Don Churchillion's head. He spoke-

"I am Litany Magpie, and I; know my Business, and Don Churchillion's Business, and your Business, and Tweedleton's Business, and the Business of Franklin D Rarebit, and Business concerning Harpy Lapette. I also know the Business of the Slithey Tove, and Ethan Safertee's Business is known to me. The Business of the Cautionary Tail is second to none in my knowledge. The Business of the Lily, and the Rosebuds and the Daisies are all of my known. Mrs Cameraman's Business and that of Alice in her helping, are of my own deep regard. I, make it my Business to know about the Business of all about here. Business information is shiny and like treasure. Each pearl, I could string into a necklace of wisdom about your throat!"

GiGi interjected here. "Excuse me, but did you say that you knew my Business, and Mrs Cameraman's Business? Please tell me what they are?"

Litany replied, "No. I said- ' I am Litany Magpie, and I; know my Business  and Don Churchillion's Business, and your Business, and Tweedleton's Business, and the Business of Franklin D Rarebit, and Business concerning Harpy Lapette."

Don Churchillion cut in here with a polite cough. "You shouldn't encourage him to repeat himself you know- he does this quite often. THANK-YOU LITANY" he said "That is quite sufficient for now".

The bird looked rather crestfallen, and continued repeating its discourse though quietly to itself now.

"Now, let us get back to your last remark".

"I am afraid that I don't remember it" said GiGi.

"Well, that's no good at all" said Don Churchillion "Being afraid of remarks, is quite simply something that Churchillion's DO NOT DO. Now, just take a good look at me. I am one who has descended from a Great Leader. You know I am, mayhap you'll never see such another, and to show you I'm not proud, you may shake hands with me."

He smiled, and looked rather pleased with himself, but no hand appeared.

"Yes, I have Churchillian ears, you know. If I need to get the answers to anything at all then we all get together and we decide what to do about it. Only the other day, we were all in a cabinet, and discussing the ways of this and that, and how the numbers didn't add up, and we decided that it just was not good enough- and that something should be done, and all in all we decided that it was a funny Business".

At this, the Bird piped up " You see, that's what I said. I know Don Churchillion's Business, and your Business, and Tweedleton's Business..."

"EXCUSE ME PLEASE BOTH OF YOU" GiGi interrupted "I apologise for cutting in, but perhaps both of you would be so kind as to enlighten me as to what exactly my Busines is?"

They both looked at each other, and Don Churchillion spoke...

"But, you already know this- you said it yourself in the poem!"

"I did?" said GiGi.

"Oh, dear me". Don Churchillion shook his head, seconded by the Litany Bird, who then whispered in his ear.

Don Churchillion spoke. "If you had all of the numbers and then took one away, what would you have?"

"I'm sorry, what numbers?" said GiGi.

"The numbers. The ones that don't add up." said Don Churchillion.

"But, that doesn't make sense" said GiGi "If the numbers don't add up, then how can you ask someone to take one away?".

"Well there you are, that's what I said. " said Don Churchillion "You are a clever girl- we agree with each other!".

GiGi tried another tack "You mentioned that I said it myself in the poem?" They both nodded at once.

"What, exactly, did I say in the poem?"

"Oh, dear me!" Don Churchillion and the Litany Bird shook their heads in tandem. "Shall I repeat myself? " said Litany "NO!" said Don Churchillion. "I shall SPELL IT OUT FOR HER".

"GiGi, Dear Girl. Your Business is to enable Mrs Cameraman to come back home."

They looked at each other and sighed ("She's picked a dim one here") was said as an aside.

"You have a broom, don't you?"

GiGi did, and she said so-

"Well, the 'Ware-of-All' needs defeating quite clearly, and what is more- all the nay-natterers are in the Purgatree right now- so you can go about your Business freely! Now, we don't think that you intend to stay here the rest of your life; so, Good-Bye!". Don Churchillion promptly shut his eyes tightly.

At this, both turned around, and waved in unison stating again "Good-Bye!".

GiGi thought about speaking, but at that moment was interrupted by the deafening sound of stomping feet...

And that's the end for tonight, dear Emily. 

Sleep tight, dream nice dreams,

Your ever-loving Grand-mother, GiGi,   



Tuesday, 22 October 2013

GiGi and the Cat- "Somebody's shawl is being blown away"...

Dearest Emily,

Whilst we patiently await the arrival of your baby sister, and the storm-clouds gather over your Grandmother's house- let's have a bash at chapter five, before you go to bed...

Now half to the setting moon are gone,

    And half to the rising day;

Low on the sand and loud on the stone
    The last wheel echoes away.
Tennyson- Maud

SHE CAUGHT THE SHAWL as she spoke, and looked about for the owner. In another moment, the lady in white who had appeared before in the sky- now became visible up high above the wood. GiGi rubbed her eyes, and blinked- but there she was- and it may have been her fancy- but she didn't look quite so pale and ghostly. The woman looked straight at her- and GiGi made up her mind to address her, lest she dissappear again,

"I'm very glad I happened to be in the way" she said, and held out the shawl.

The lady just looked at her. GiGi began, haltingly once more.

" Are you, pardon my asking, but might you be the lady who lived in the house I came from today- the Queen of the house, perhaps?"

"Well, yes" answered the woman "If you call that a Queen. It isn't my notion of the thing at all".

GiGi thought it would never do to have an argument at the very beginning of their conversation, so she smiled and said. "If you'll tell me how to address you, I'll do as well as I can."

"But that is simply neither here, nor there!" groaned the poor lady. "What I want, is to get back in!".

"In the house" ventured GiGi.

"Yes" said the lady "After all, it is my house." All at once her cheeks got redder, she flickered, and then became pale again. GiGi started "Oh, now don't get upset, don't disappear again- I do understand!"

"No, you do not!" said the lady "It's the house you see- it's all out of temper, it's happened before, and it's happening again, and so it will keep on, until someone does something. I've listened, I've heard them all saying so, but what's the use? Eh, what's the use?" At this she flickered and got redder and paler again "You don't understand, nobody understands, it's really not on"  She carried on mumbling and GiGi cut in.
" I don't quite understand what's to be done" she said, "but I do see that you need some help getting back in." With that, she looked down and realised she was still holding the shawl, and her broomstick.
"Umm, would you like your shawl back?"

"No, no, not as it is- it used to be red you know, but after the exercise it faded. You put it on, it's getting quite chilly". And so it was, an easterly wind was whipping up- and GiGi heard a sort of giggle from somewhere.

GiGi wrapped the shawl around her shoulders, and turning her gaze back up to the sky, she saw a little Angel.

"Who" said the lady "Is that, and what is she doing here?". GiGi knew the answer to this one.
" Her name, is Alice. She's here to make things better. I met her parents. That is what she is here for!"

"Better?" the woman almost shrieked "Better, eh?" With this her cheeks got at once red, pale and flickered, her eyes became clearer, and bright in the moonlight, as the little angel joined her above and just to the left of her in the sky. "Beeetter, Beetter, beetterrr...." With this both dissappeared.

          *     *     *     *      *      *      *     *      *     *      *      *     *     *      *     *      *     *      *

As GiGi wrapped herself up in the shawl, and used the broomstick as a walking aid against the wind, she came across a sign saying that she was in 'Middleton'.

As she walked towards the sign, she found that she was all at once looking at the inside of a dark shop- and watching two people talking to each other. The two people seemed familiar, as though the one on the left was herself in some years to come, and the one on the right, was her Grand-daughter Emily.

GiGi stopped still, and tried to listen to what they were saying. The Grand-mother was telling a story, and the little girl was enjoying it, and suggesting bits of her own, which the Grand-mother added in to her tale, whilst she carried on knitting a shawl.

" And so, the poor lady was stuck. Up in the sky, and couldn't get down, and back to her own house!"

" But that's because everyone in it, needed to have a good clear up!" said Emily.

" So, what did they do next Emily?"

" Well...." Emily thought. "I'm not really sure yet, but there was that poem, wasn't there..."

"Ah, yes, and there was another verse, or two. It went like this..."

And as in faffing thought, she stood,
The ware-of-all, with eyes aflame,
Came baffling through the tulgy-wood,
And murmured as it came!

One-two! One two! And through 
The besum-broom went snicker-snack!

Emily cut in here. "I know, it was time to do some sweeping up! The house needed cleaning! All those creatures were out in the Purgatree sorting themselves out. So, she should just get on with the cleaning!"

The Grand-mother just laughed and went on with her knitting.

GiGi just stood still for a minute more, as the shop disappeared, and on the ground before her were two eggs and a bottle of Champagne. She hardly noticed these, her thoughts , were as perplexed as her brow.

Time for bed, Emily. Help me next time with chapter six, sleep tight.

Your ever-loving Grand-mother, GiGi xxx

Monday, 14 October 2013

GiGi and the Cat- Tweedleton's Wilderness

Dearest Em,

Chapter Four begins;

For nature is one with rapine, a harm no preacher can heal;
The Mayfly is torn by the swallow, the sparrow spear'd by the Shrike,
And the whole little wood where I sit is a world of plunder and prey.

SHE VERY SOON CAME to an open field, with a wood on the other side of it. A finger post appeared stating 'The Wilderness-This way',. "Well, all right then" said GiGi to herself, as she made up her mind to go on "For I certainly won't go back just yet, not while the Queen needs me to be her Messenger".
Having no idea whatsoever where that thought had formed itself, along with some nonsense about the cat would agree, and that her knitting was to be a sleeve of care- she trampled on up the down whilst wondering what on earth was this all about anyway, why was she here and what was her purpose exactly?
And so went her rambling thoughts in this way, as she tramped up the Down and through the field towards the Wilderness. Her muttering thoughts seemed to become audible as she stared at the ground along the way- until at once she realised the mutterings weren't hers now, but someone elses entirely. She looked up to see a Rabbit (at least that's what she thought it first) marching backwards and forwards, whilst tapping and shaking a pocket watch, which didn't seem to be working. "Hurry up- hurry up- we haven't got all the time in the World!" she heard.

 GiGi looked at the Rabbit more closely- his voice, and surely his appearance? was known to her. This seemed to GiGi a little strange, as she wan't aware that she knew any six foot tall Rabbit-people who wore Dinner jackets and Top Hats. But the familiarity prompted her to call out to him, and interrupt his pre-occupation.
"Hello there! Hello there!" she said, as if to an old friend, and held out her hand for a greeting. Instead, the creature waved and smiled and addressed her directly.
"Do you know where you are going?" he said. "If you don't, then any road will take you there".
"Yes, no, I mean, not really. I wish I did, but then, maybe I do".
"Think again" he said "That won't do".
"Please would you tell me what you call yourself?" GiGi said, as she found that she suddenly really wanted to know.
"Franklin D.Rarebit" he announced with a sweeping bow, and doffing his top hat to her.
She heard herself giggle and found herself curtseying, and should have been polite enough to introduce herself, but there seemed to be no need. She felt that she knew him already, but that his appearance was all at once a Dickensian Artful Dodger, all mixed up with a Centaur, albeit with Rabbit legs- but familiar or not- she made her mind up not to comment about this. He spoke-

'She took her Besum Broom in hand,
Long time the vexome for she sought-
So rested she, by the Purgatree,
And stood a while in thought'

"Oh, Really!" GiGi burst out, as she was getting rather frustrated with all the nonsense today. "And what EXACTLY does that mean?"
Mr Rarebit, merely tapped his brow. "I give you this" He said and then gestured her along her way. " Watch yourself, be careful what you wish for, and HURRY UP- we don't have all the time in the World you know!" At this point he remembered his watch, shook it, and seemed to realise that it wasn't working. With a cheerful wave, he skipped away.

Two finger post appeared  "To the Middle of the Wilderness where DBH Tweedleton lives", and the other "The Right Way to the Wilderness where DBH Tweedleton lives", but as they both pointed the same way, there was nothing to be done.

"I do believe" said GiGi to herself "That all this nonsense just means the same thing! Well I'll go in, but I won't stay long, as it is getting dark, and I really should get to the Bored Meeting. I've lost sight of the Cat, or the plot anyway..."
Her thoughts trailed away as she turned a sharp corner, where she came upon a strange little man, so suddenly that she could not help starting back. In a moment she recovered herself- whilst noticing that the man appeared to know her.

"Ooh, ah, yes!" was all he said as a greeting. "Now, I needed to speak with you quietly." With this, he glanced at the book in his hand, which now gained his attention. He made a tutting sound, and turned the pages admiring the contents and shaking his head all at the same time.
"You wanted something?" GiGi said.
"What?" the man seemed distracted by her question, and returned to his book "Nohow, no- ooh just look at this. I shall add it to my collection!"
GiGi tried again. " You said that you wanted to speak with me quietly"
"Yes, yes yes." He turned gilt edged pages. "I just bought this one. Couldn't help myself! Had to get out of the Tulgy Wood for a bit, and visit Cecil Court. Poetry, Poetry!!! Let me read you a little!"
GiGi tried once more. "You did say, that you wanted to speak with me quietly?"
"A poem, now where is it. You like poetry don't you!"
GiGi said she did, but that it was getting dark, so perhaps not a long poem, and perhaps he could be so kind as to show her the way out? 
"Hmm, it's the other you know, he's at it again. We're all for it some bother again. I remember all the bother before!" With this, he tutted and pulled at his beard, and looked rather sorry for himself.
"Perhaps I can help- If you will tell me how?"
This seemed to fall on deaf ears- as the man turned page after page, until satisfied. "AHAH, now!"
He cleared his throat and declaimed.

"The sun was shining"

Here, GiGi ventured to interrupt "If it's very long" she said as politely as she could "Would you first tell me which road-"

DBH smiled gently and began again,

"The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all its might,
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright.
And this was odd because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily
Because she thought the sun
Had no business to be there
After the day was done-
'It's very rude of him' she said
'To come and spoil the fun"

The sea was wet as wet could be
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud because
No cloud was in the sky
No birds were flying overhead
The Monstrous Crow had gone.

The Plumber was a Lifeboat man
Who walked about this land.
He wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand.
If this were only cleared away,
He said, it would be Grand..."

At this point, GiGi turned and began to walk off- with DBH calling to her;

"Your Broom, here, don't forget that! It's what you came for after all. Take it, and get on with your cleaning. We're all waiting you know!"

GiGi shook her head in bewilderment, and headed off without any idea of the way back in the dark.
Consoling herself with the Rabbit's advice- she didn't know where she was going- so today it seemed quite sensible- that any road would get her there. The words from the rhyme that the Tweedleton spoke came back to her 'The Plumber was a Lifeboat man' sounded at once odd, but familiar, and as she looked down across the way, she thought she recognised the Bay. Screwing up her eyes, she thought she saw Grumpa and a Cat, in a boat, heading out to sea.

"It's Grumpa and Storm!" She said out-loud, and yelled and waved at them- but they paid no attention whatsoever, and headed off wherever it was they were going.

"Oh well", she said to herself- "I suppose something will make sense at some time or another. Best just get on- the Bored Meeting won't go on forever- I hope!"

Using her broom as a walking stick she turned left and sort of knew where she was going now. Just them the wind whipped up and GiGi's hat flew off of her head and away.

That's all for tonight my little one! Until next time, be a good girl for Mummy and Daddy,

Your ever-loving Grand-mother, GiGi xxx

Monday, 7 October 2013

GiGi and the Cat- The Purgatree and what GiGi found there.

Dearest Em,

And now for the draft of the third chapter of your little sister's book...

Is it peace, or war? Civil war, as I think
and that of a kind
The viler, as underhand, not openly
bearing the sword.
                                       Tennyson, Maud

"WHAT IS IT ABOUT A CAT, that I ought to be able to remember?" said GiGi, more to herself than anyone else, as anyone, or anything for that matter didn't seem to be there- it was just this big tree- straight in front of her.
Just then, she noticed the book that she was still clutching, and she did remember that she had been reading a poem, one that somehow sounded all at once familiar, yet not quite the same. GiGi opened the book and read the second verse.

"Beware the 'Ware-of-All" my Girl!
The mouth that snipes, the claws that snatch,
Beware the Monstrous Crow, and Shun,
The frumious Can-all-Snatch!"

All of a sudden, the sky became dark, and the sound of flapping wings filled the air- but GiGi could not see what it was that was flapping- it somehow didn't seem real- which was an odd thing to think right now, GiGi reasoned. As she looked towards the house- she caught sight of something slipping out of the Tower, and then slither down the wall, just as a creature flew out of the tree, and plucked up another from the ground beneath it. All three headed for the Tree, and all at once stopped there, one clinging to the trunk, the other two disappeared up onto the branches.

The creature who clung to the trunk was breathing heavily and sweating. He stared at GiGi for a minute, whilst trying to catch his breath.

"It's the Monstrous Crow, it's the Monstrous Crow!" The creature wiped his forehead with his hands (well GiGi thought that's what they must be, he used them as feet to run with too- but hey, what's normal today?) "You must listen to me-or it will get you, go, or they will get you in the end! It's always been the same. It won't change. I should know, better than anyone here."
With that, his eyes darted right, then left, and his head turned a full circle, before he dived head-first into a murky 'puddle' it looked like, right there under the tree. 
Almost immediately, a toad hopped up from a branch of the tree into a higher one in a clearing, and fixed a lidded eye on GiGi, who felt rather chilly all of a sudden. The toad rocked, and it too had a rather heavy sort of breathing she noticed.

"Get out you, get out while you still can!" GiGi wasn't sure if she actuall wanted to speak with the toad- so she stood still and folded her arms and just looked him in the one eye he stared at her with. All was quiet for some time, whilst he rocked and stared. He then made a sort of gutteral belch which wasn't at all pleasant to witness and opened his slithey mouth again;
"I told them all. I told them. It's curtains for them. HAH! They think they'll be there for Christmas, FOOLS! I told them once, but they wouldn't listen, so I have come back to tell them again. FOOLS!"
Satisfied by this, he lowered the heavy lid of the one eye that stared and turned his back on her.
At this point, a cackling crackly laugh was to be heard from within the tree, accompanied by some rustling and scratching, and a head appeared out of the branches.
"And who might you be? " asked GiGi- as she had now met three creatures of a like she had never before come across, and she thought them rather bad-mannered in not introducing themselves at least, what with their warnings of doom and gloom and telling her to get away.
"Harpy Lapette, my pretty. Harpy Lapette."
"Isn't he lovely, my Slithey Tove? He's mine, all mine...Not Ethan Safertie Pseudolar, I don't mean him dear- he doesn't even come up here. He just hides in the murky waters, no good to me there."
She muttered to herself, and put out a claw to search the branch where the toad was last, and satisfied that he was still where she wanted him, she cackled and continued...
"Come here my pretty, come up into the Purgatree. All you need to do is see things differently". GiGi rather thought she was seeing things differently today, and started to say so.
"No, no, no, NO!" said Harpy. "I'm not going to listen to this! Don't be as stupid as you look. that is NOT what I am talking about. You need to listen to all the warnings, all the grumbles, all the difficulties. You need to listen to it all, until it makes your head spin. Then, you must be very fed-up with it all, very fed up indeed. Then, you must decide that they are all right, you are wrong, and there is no hope at all! That's the way. And it is all the better if you start telling the others too. Tell them they are wrong, tell them thew Monstrous Crow is coming. Tell them, it's all hopeless, and no good can come of it, none at all".
GiGi did rather feel as though her head was spinning listening to all this gloom, but felt no compulsion to join Harpy in the tree. Harpy resumed her discourse.
"Come here my pretty. Come up into the Purgatree, if you have anything to offer me of course. Because if you have, I shall break your skin and have you for my supper. I start with the eyes, they are really quite all that I need. Mustn't put on too much weight you know!"
GiGi shuddered as the Vulture cackled, and GiGi caught sight of a tail, with an arrow-like point on the end, which flicked around the trunk, and disappeared behind it.
Just then, Ethan Safertie popped up from the murky waters- and shouted at her;
"Don't you go talking to the Cautionary Tale whatever you do! His words are worth a thousand pounds a minute. There'll be nothing left in the bank if you do that, and then what will become of us" He wiped his brow again.
"You're wasting your time Ethan. She's got nothing to offer us! No new eyeballs for supper tonight. At least I shall keep my figure." Harpy then called to her Slithey Tove, telling him not to move too far from her, as she may need something from him presently.

GiGi realised that actually there wasn't much point in talking to this miserable bunch, no wonder they were all in the Purgatree, she thought. Looking up at the sky, she couldn't see any Monstrous Crow- just the lilacs and blues and pinky orange hues of the sunset- and the Woman's face which appeared again and looked straight at her, and then down towards a gate.

It may have been GiGi's fancy, but the Woman appeared a bit less pale this time. In an instant she was gone, but GiGi now felt she was a kind of Queen. "Yes" she said to herself "That's it! She wants me to let her in to her Castle. The cat knew that all the time, wherever it has gone. I must tell the Bored, when I go to the meeting". But GiGi didn't think that it was quite time for that yet, and opened the gate and set off up the hill towards the Wilderness beyond.

So there we are Emily, better get on with the next chapter now- Mummy looks rather ready to bring you your sister quite soon!

Your ever-loving Grand-Mother, GiGi xxx